Written by
Bob Stumpel

December 11

Ray Charles Live At Montreux Jazz Festival 1991, July 16th

'91 LC MontreuxWith Chaka KhanWith George BensonWith George Duke

Video still: Khan, Charles, Benson.

I already had quite some – and quite confusing* – information on Ray Charles’ contributions to the 1991 edition of the Montreux Jazz Festival. It now is (though not yet in all details) becoming clear that Ray actually performed twice. Read this for some context.

The Concert Database of the Montreux Jazz Festival has an extensive description of Ray’s concert on the 16th, at the Casino.

The video taping has a total duration of 01:27:05. Personnel: Ray Charles (voc, p), Paul Jackson Jr. (g), Steve Ferrone (tamb), Nathan East (b), Greg Phillinganes (kbds, voc), Ray Cooper (perc), Chaka Khan (guest) (voc), George Benson (guest) (g, voc), Al Jarreau (guest) (dr), George Duke (guest) (p), Rachelle Ferrell (voc). The setlist was (with obvious corrections):

1. What’s Goin’ On
2. Thru’ The Fire
3. We Can Work It Out
4. Sign To The Limit
5. Blues For Big Scotia – Ray Charles
6. I Can See Clearly Now – Ray Charles
7. Georgia On My Mind – Ray Charles
8. Makin’ Whoopee – Ray Charles
9. Your Cheating Heart – Ray Charles
10. Doodlin’  – Ray Charles with George Benson
11. Masquerade – Ray Charles with George Benson and Chaka Khan
12. Six Two Four
13. Boogie Down

Ray first came on stage for song #5, and didn’t return after #11. This source describes a 47-minute tape of the show. To watch Masquerade, click here. I’ve just seen this program, titled Festivété, encompassing tracks #5 to #11; Ray scatted a bit in #5; Makin’ Whoopee (#8) was the first recorded live version of the song since the Shrine concert in 1964 except for a duet with Engelbert Humperdinck in 1970.

* Update 12 March 2015:
Part of the confusion comes from the fact that Ray Charles also performed in Montreux – with the band & The Raelettes – on the 15th, and that this show was not part of the Jazz Fest’s program…


Enrico Rivella — 2022-03-05 17:01:08

I was there, an italian student in nearby Lausanne. Being in a concert of the Genius was my dream. I bought the cheap tickets of the "surprise" concert and was quiet listening my beloved George Benson, until the door opened and he entered on the stage with his contagious smile and the face high to the sky. I dropped by my chair. Is it possible to watch the video? The link doesn't work.

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